comments 18

Sunshine, carrot and orange cake

It was our local primary school Headteacher’s birthday today and we horrible governors had arranged a committee meeting for that very evening. So I made a carrot and orange cake to celebrate/commiserate:


I got this recipe from the Guardian “How to cook the perfect…” series.

It has to be said that I’m not usually a Guardian reader, as I like a shameless, hedonistic “fix” of fashion and home style with my paper, and I find the Guardian’s fashion and home style sense rather odd. But these recipes do really work, and I’m willing to be persuaded that they really are perfect. This cake was astonishingly light – which surprised me as it uses melted butter, rather than the
whole process of creaming the butter and sugar together, to incorporate air. This nicely avoids the problem of what to do with your butter during the winter, when it is still an unyielding block at room temperature – softening in the microwave is never quite as good as a decent actual room temperature.

I topped it with this orange icing, down to the zest on the top which was quite a revelation. I’ve zested with a grater before, but I’d bought a zester especially to make the long decorative strands of peel, and when I used it, the scent of a fine mist of orange oil filled the kitchen, a scent that also lingered long enough to flavour my car as I transported my cake to school.

As it’s Spring, it was nice to be able to drive home after the meeting in the light and feel that I still had something of an evening left.

Following on the theme of Spring and new beginnings, I have finally bought myself a new diary. I have been holding on stubbornly for the Paperchase diary sale, more out of principle than because of the prospect of any great savings, and at the weekend I bought this lovely Design Diary.

Which I have already begun to fill up with many governor meetings… but also climbing wall, book group, LD’s dance shows and nights out.  Watch this space!




  1. I made a carrot cake yesterday too but not for anyone in particular which is unfortunate as now I can’t stop eating it! Carrot cake is my favourite. Yours look really yummy.

  2. I used to bake a lot less when the children were younger because they didn’t eat very much and I ended up scoffing the whole thing. Luckily now I have hungrier children, committees and lots of colleagues! There’s something very perfect about a carrot cake – it’s effortlessly moist with all those carrots in it, and I am a big fan of the cream cheese icing.

  3. Your blog has a new look! I love it!

    That cake looks SO GOOD. I rarely bake because my fiance doesn’t have a sweet tooth and I have the sweetest tooth there ever was. If I baked I would eat ALL the baking and then where would I be? Definitely not fitting into a wedding dress any time soon.

    I also love the diary you got. Even better when you get to fill it up with all those fun activities!

    • I both like having activities to look forward to… and hopefully forgetting fewer dates this year because I will love writing in it so much.

      Ah, wedding dress! That’s worth forgoing the cake for.

  4. I’ve never made any sort of carrot cake but yours looks delicious! I really like your diary too. I always have to get one with things going on in it, never a plain one. I had a Paulo Coelho one for a few years running which was packed with quotes and vivid pictures, it was very inspiring.

    • There was such a lot of beautiful choice in Paperchase, even in the sale. It definitely makes planning your week more special when you have a fresh new theme to look at on a Monday morning!

      • I may be having ocular issues, but is the fox in your diary saying “I love to ride my breakfast”?

  5. Ooh I love the thrill of a brand new diary, pages just waiting to be filled with exciting things to do as well as the sometimes more mundane.
    Nothing mundane about the look of your carrot cake – it’s my favourite – always treat myself to a slice when visiting Wisley or somewhere similar. I can kid myself that it is the ‘healthy’ option 😉

    • Wisley has been mentioned big time all over my blog reader recently. I think it is Spring fever.

      This cake does have 200g of carrots and 100g of raisins in it! In fact when you mix it, there’s a moment when you just have to have faith, because it does look quite like coleslaw.

      It was quite funny because I was slicing it up while the committee chair got the meeting started, and the discussion somehow got onto childhood obesity, and then there was a moment when we all looked down at our plates.

  6. I love carrot cake sans raisins. I haven’t had it in years though…hum…might be time to whip one up. 🙂
    Oh, I’m salivating over your new diary, Denise. I have an addiction.

    • I brought the leftovers home to the LDs. I said to LD#2, “I know you don’t like raisins, BUT”. And even she was half convinced by this cake.

      It’s amazingly easy to do this cake because of the melty butter thing.

  7. Mmm….looks and sounds delicious, especially the way you describe the smell of the orange 🙂 I tried to make a Japanese strawberry sponge cake recently but the batter didn’t rise at all and the cake just came out completely solid…I wonder if I didn’t beat the batter long enough (I believe it was a sugar and egg mixture)? (Sorry, I don’t mean to hijack your thread with my cake problems…)

    Your diary also looks lovely. I used to enjoy shopping for them, but now I just end up using Google calendar…functional but much less attractive.

  8. I love Carrot Cake. It’s wonderful that you found a magazine recipe and just gave it a go. You are very sweet to make a cake for others to enjoy (no pun intended!). Best, Shanna

  9. I have been trying to figure out how to make attractive citrus twists for cocktails and completely forgot that I have a zester! Thanks for the reminder…. and the cake looks gorgeous!

  10. The cake looks (& sounds) fab Denise, I hope your efforts were appreciated. It’s lovely that you have so many social occasions to look forward to 🙂

  11. Ooooh this cake looks amazing!! I love carrot cake – especially when it is really moist. We’ve found the oil-based recipes work really well with this. I love that it is called sunshine cake – just puts a smile on your face 🙂

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